Describing Images

Two adults at home reading audiobook with headphones

If the book that you are scanning contains images and you have the interest and ability to describe them, please follow these instructions

  1. Put the description where the image is in the text, unless the image appears in the middle of a sentence or paragraph. In that case, move the description to the immediately after the sentence or paragraph
  2. Place image description in square brackets: [  ]
  3. Preceed the description with the word "Image" 
    • Unless you can use a more descriptive word than image (such as "map," "illustration," "diagram," etc. If you can, do it!
  4. Write in complete sentences and use correct grammar
  5. Be objective
    • Rather than writing [Image: A boy pounds his fists, jumps with excitement, and shrieks happily.], write: [Image: A boy jumps into the air with his hands balled into fists overhead. He is smiling with an open mouth.] You don’t know that he’s happy, but by describing his smile, the reader can assume it. You also don’t know that he’s shrieking, but by describing his open mouth, the reader can assume it. 
  6. Keep it concise
    • Do not duplicate information in the text
    • If the image is already described in the text, simply write: [Image described in text]
  7. Consider your audience 
    • Is the book for young children? Use age-appropriate vocabulary. Is it an advanced science book? Use more complex words than you might for a kids’ book
    • Don’t introduce new concepts
    • Read the text around the picture for context

Example: [Image: A large brown cow is standing in a green field in front of a red wooden barn.]